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Give booze a break in January

Waltham Forest Council is backing a national campaign challenging people to have an alcohol-free January.

Alcohol Concern, a charity working in England and Wales to change the conversations and attitudes people have about alcohol, is working in partnership with Public Health England to launch the 31-day Dry January challenge, which encourages people to stop drinking alcohol for a month and change behaviour by cutting down the amount they drink throughout 2015.

Organisers of the campaign say that giving up alcohol – even for a short time – can help people improve sleep, lose weight, improve hair quality and save money. They are inviting people to fundraise for the charity while taking a break from drinking alcohol for the month.

Cllr Ahsan Khan, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “In Waltham Forest, it’s estimated that 38,000 people drink more than the recommended levels, and are therefore increasing their chances of developing related health problems as they get older.

“That’s why we’re encouraging local people to give the Dry January challenge a go and see if they start the New Year feeling more energised and refreshed in the process.”

Health experts say women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units per day, which is no much more than one standard 175ml glass of wine (ABV 13%). For men, it is 3-4 units per day, which is not much more than a pint of strong lager, beer or cider (ABV 5.2%).

Even for people that don’t have any addiction to alcohol, regularly drinking over the recommended limits will cause long-term damage to the liver, and is linked to many other health problems such as infertility, depression and cancer.

Other advice on drinking includes:

  • Leave at least two days a week completely alcohol-free

  • When drinking out, switch between alcoholic and soft-drinks

  • If you have a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for the next 48 hours

To find out more about Dry January and to sign up visit

If you have concerns about your drinking you can speak with your GP or contact Waltham Forest Beulah Road Integrated Alcohol Treatment Service for advice on 0208 509 1888.

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